Shibdas Ghosh

Lessons of November Revolution and Revolutionary Movement in India

Source : Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUCI) (used with kind permission)
Date : November 15, 1968
First published : November 10, 2001
HTML Markup: Salil Sen for January, 2010
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2010). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit "Marxists Internet Archive" as your source.

In the perspective of reigning confusion and disarray in the socialist camp over questions pertaining to revisionist trends, determination of the stage of revolution in various underdeveloped countries, relation between various communist parties, in particular between the leading party and the others, Comrade Shibdas Ghosh analyses and elaborates here the specific lessons of the Great November Revolution which bear on these burning questions. He emphasizes the entwined issue of revolutionary conduct, sense of revolutionary discipline, and style of revolutionary work – so important in carrying out everyday programme with revolutionary purposiveness.

Comrade President and Comrades,

You listened so long to different leaders discussing various aspects of the significance of the November Revolution and its teachings. These teachings bring to bear on a wide range, and many lessons can we take from them. Certain aspects of the teachings have been addressed by leaders who preceded me. Many other lessons pertain that need to be examined critically, discussed at some length, and in that perspective the present position of the communist movement has to be assessed in particular. I am not keeping well however; so I cannot enter into a long discussion. Today I would bring up those few issues that are of compelling necessity and are in need of our immediate attention.

Carrying through to revolution is not possible by copying others blindly

Of the many teachings of the November Revolution, there is a very important teaching that now needs to be recalled once again by the revolutionary cadres, by the communists and by the people of this country. It is found that a tendency towards copying is palpable in the communist movement itself. Even if those given to copying think they would not copy, yet for long, and ever since the beginning of the communist movement, this unsavoury habit of copying the authority blindly, parroting their words, has over and again become strikingly manifest. The genuine Marxist-Leninist leadership has had to fight against this time in and time out. Lenin too had to combat this at one time. During the buildup of the Russian revolution, a strong tendency of the sort had made itself felt when a number of intellectuals, who wormed through the works of Marx and Engels learning these by heart, clamoured for bringing about revolution by copying the authority to the letter; that is, they wanted to manufacture revolution. Lenin pointed out to them, revolution denotes a dynamic of events, it arises in the course of struggle — we cannot manufacture it at will, it is not like we can manufacture goods in a factory.

Revolution in every country has its own specific features

It is incumbent that we should grasp the full complement of the revolutionary theory developed by the Marxist authorities who expounded and elaborated it stage by stage, enriched it in the course of struggle and from the sum total of their experiences they brought it to ever rising heights.

Bear it in mind, every revolution has its specific characteristic features, its distinctive form. Each and every revolutionary theory is the theory of a particular revolution which takes shape through concrete analysis of the experiences, viewing it in general in the international situation obtaining, and its concrete application in a given concrete situation. So it warrants understanding that because conditions are ever changing and situations in different countries are not one and the same, therefore the complex processes of revolution in different countries are not and cannot be identical. Unless understood in this way, it is sure to militate against dialectical materialism. That is why, to all who are adept at quoting Marx, Engels and other authorities of such stature, word by word, Lenin sounded caution: “We do not by any means regard Marx's theory as something final and inviolable; we are convinced that it has only laid the cornerstones of Marxist science which the socialists must advance in all directions if they do not want to be behind the times. We hold that an independent elaboration of Marx's theory is especially necessary for Russian socialists, since this theory provides only general guiding principles which are applied in particular differently to Britain than to France, differently to France than to Germany, differently to Germany than to Russia." (Collected Works, Vol. IV, p.191-192). That is, Lenin showed, the Russian revolutionaries had before them the theories and general teachings of Marx, Engels or other revolutionaries; in other words, the teachings of Marxism, all its analyses, were there before them, so also the theory and the lessons from the experiences of the Marxist revolutionaries of different countries too. However, if these theories and teachings are to be made suitable and adequate for giving shape to the Russian revolution, these have to be concretized, developed and enriched in such a manner that they can influence the process of revolution. Furthermore, Lenin showed that according to the general conclusions of dialectical materialism, no two phenomena are identical. It follows, revolution in different countries, as they take place within the national orbit of the respective country, are not identical. While there are some similarities between them, certain features common, yet many a difference between them exists, too, in the perspective of the particular concrete situations of particular countries, each having its specific characteristic features. If we can apply these theories with the correct understanding of the specific characteristics of a given country, and grasping the then national and international situations, only in that event will the theories themselves get elaborated, developed and enriched in practice. It is for this that no longer do these theories remain exactly as Marx and other revolutionaries had expounded them. This way the revolutionary theories develop, this way they become enriched.

General principles of Marxism are to be concretized in concrete situations

It was Lenin who first projected the teaching that without a revolutionary theory there can be no revolution. And this revolutionary theory is the theory to guide and navigate the concrete process of revolution in a country — it is not for flaunting pedantry with quotation-mongering, nor for writing books, or copying others blindly. Therefore, the science of Marxism that Marx and Engels handed down to us, and subsequently Lenin's contributions to the treasure-house of Marxism, all that he developed and enriched, those Leninist teachings, or afterwards the developments made by Stalin and the teachings of Mao Zedong in the Chinese revolution — all these teachings of Marx-Engels-Lenin-Stalin-Mao Zedong have to be grasped, concretized, elaborated and developed by the revolutionaries of different countries, who are yet to accomplish their revolution such that these teachings become living to be exactly appropriate to meet this very objective of revolution in their respective countries, if they desire to concretely guide and influence the course of revolution.

Copying the revolutionary theory blindly or parroting phrases verbatim cannot bring about revolution in a country. This habit prevailed among a section during the Russian revolution too. Lenin dealt a clinching blow to it. He concretized Marxism, developed it further enriching it to make it adequate enough to confront the then international situation; he brought it to a new height, and applied it to accomplishing the Russian revolution. Later on, Stalin did the same thing, and Mao Zedong, too, had to do the same thing. To the extent each of them could concretize, elaborate and develop these theories in a manner adequate to influence and accelerate the process of revolution in their respective contemporary situations, to that extent they succeeded in discharging that very responsibility. And in cases where even leaders of their stature were unable to adequately concretize and develop these, their limitations stood out.

History of both so-called communist parties of India is history of blindness

Ever since their inception, the two so-called communist parties in our country, the CPI and the CPI(M), have been suffering from this very disease of copying others blindly, a tendency against which Lenin waged a battle in pre-revolution Russia. That same disease is to get cured yet. Left untreated, a disease gets into the bones by the day, into the marrow itself to attack the nerves. To cure it then becomes difficult in the extreme, maybe it gets impossible to cure. Whereas, if diagnosis is followed up at once with proper treatment, there remains the real possibility of cure through treatment at the primary stage. But if treatment is neglected and disease allowed to thrive and advance, allowed to turn chronic, it strikes its roots into the bones and spreads into the very marrow, and there is no cure then.

These two so-called communist parties you see, they are from an original single party, split into two. The number is about to grow into three by now. If the third faction lasts, a fourth will not be far off. There is no end to this process; because, when the disease had originally struck, there was no attempt to diagnose it. On the contrary, when somebody tried to point this out, they did not listen to criticism with an attitude of learning, they did not try to rectify themselves. That is to say, they did not conduct themselves like dialectical materialists, like Marxists. One should consider first whether a criticism has elements of truth in it, whether it is valid and constructive; or, even if it is adverse, whether it contains anything really from which to learn, or the whole is just abuse, motivatedly aimed to malign. Only after a patient consideration of a criticism with an attitude of learning, if it is found that the criticism has been launched deliberately to malign should one reject it. But with a mind to learn missing, one cannot gain anything from criticism, even if it contains something good or positive.

These two parties lack the attitude altogether to learn from criticism by others. From the beginning itself, they have inculcated a mindset among the party cadres for which the cadres do not feel the necessity to read other parties' literature. For them, there is no need to know the views of other parties, as if what they say themselves, whatever they analyse are gospel truth! With what outcome? When there was no rift or difference of opinion in the international communist movement — whatever its faults and shortcomings — these two parties followed to the letter what Stalin or the Soviet party said, copying those blindly — and it was so because of their mechanical concept about leadership in the communist movement. It is one thing to learn from the analyses and experience of Stalin and the Soviet party. It is altogether a different thing to indulge in the thinking that they will formulate the theory of revolution for our country.

Recently, news of some internal matter of theirs has come to light. Such goes the report that they had even approached Stalin and requested him to draw up the thesis for them! The attitude spells something like this: We run into all sorts of trouble, we muddle up whatever we lay hands on; conflicts among ourselves are not resolved. So, when you are present in person and you are infallible, not apt ever to commit any mistakes, please formulate the theory of revolution for our country, its strategy, so that we can go back home and like goodie boys set ourselves to doing the revolution. Needless to say, Stalin was not empty of sense like these people are. Stalin is said to have retorted, to the effect: Look, fellows, since you will do the revolution, this job too has to be done by you. I cannot do it for you. You may of course have consultations with me, we can exchange opinions, but I cannot formulate the strategy of your revolution. I am not that powerful, you had better look for someone else! What to say, this party of our country, which goes by the name of communist party, has all through followed its course in this very way. To this day even this habit has not died in them.

No conflict over theoretical stand engendered split from CPI that founded CPI(M)

After the Second World War, a new term has gained currency in the international communist movement — New Democratic Revolution, or People's Democratic Revolution. These parties do not even need to find out how the theory of people's democratic or new democratic revolution came into existence, what are its origins, which are the countries to which they might apply, and apply how. They are in no need to examine and understand all this so much! After the theory of people's democratic or new democratic revolution was forcefully asserted as a general line of revolution in the world communist movement, the Communist Party of India started copying the same to the letter and began chanting in chorus: 'Our revolution is people's democratic revolution'. Afterwards, as the international communist leadership split into two, this party here got divided into two under the signboards of CPI and CPI(M). Breaking away from the CPI, as the CPI(M) came to be formed as a separate party, it called the former revisionist and the CPI called the CPI(M) ultra-left. This difference did not get beneath the skin to affect the main strategic slogan in any case. Both retained the slogan of people's democratic revolution. Which is to say, both retained the same fundamental thesis, even as one called the other revisionist, and the other called the former doctrinaire or ultra-left. The rightist communist party maintained its thesis of people's democratic revolution, and the other, too, who called itself the Communist Party of India (Marxist), adopted the same line of people's democratic revolution. Though the rightist communist party began calling its theory of revolution national democratic revolution, it is but the other name of people's democratic revolution. This issue I will go into a little later.

So, you see, this business of each one calling the other revisionist has nothing to do with the strategy of people's democratic revolution proclaimed by each party. In other words, you should note that this charging of one by the other with being revisionist in no way questions each other's main political line. My question is: if the CPI(M) left the CPI because it really reckons the CPI revisionist, it is surely not because of revisionist conduct of a leader or two in the old party but on careful consideration of the old party's base political line, its slogan, programme and the character of the leadership, that they parted with the CPI. Indeed, when exactly do we call a party revisionist? This we do when that party's base political line and main strategy has become revisionist in character, then it is that the concerned party is called revisionist. But here this is not how they are labeling each other. The CPI's strategic slogan is people's democratic revolution, and even as the CPI(M) is calling the CPI revisionist, it is itself raising the same political slogan of people's democratic revolution. So I did rebut that the branding of the CPI by the CPI(M) as revisionist is not in consistence with its own base political line. With these parties, revisionism pertains to personal considerations or reaction — something that concerns the conduct and behaviour of some individuals in one party in relation to some individuals in the other party. It is simply a matter of some individuals disliking some other individuals.

Another possibility may also come into consideration. A party has to be judged in the perspective of whether or not its practice is in accord with its theory, which it calls its theory of revolution. It could be argued that while it is true that the CPI's and the CPI(M)'s theory is one and the same, what the CPI is pursuing in practice is incompatible with what its theory upholds. But that is not the point of contention of the CPI(M). Its constant strain is that the CPI is revisionist. That the CPI's theory and the CPI(M)'s theory are not one. Clamouring so, the CPI(M) is trying to fool everybody, and fooling themselves too. It may be that they are failing to fool others; actually, they are fooling only themselves. They do not realize that they have no basic difference with the CPI. The level of their theoretical standard is such that they are incapable of getting at the truth that their difference with the CPI resides merely in a few slogans and words or phrases.

The CPI's call for national democratic revolution is but people's democratic revolution itself. In both the party's consideration, the national bourgeoisie in our country maintains a progressive and revolutionary role. The sole difference is that the CPI's line is that people's democratic revolution has to be accomplished by forging a national democratic front together with the national bourgeoisie and through establishing national democracy. They affirm, its revolution could materialize in a peaceful course. On the other hand, the CPI(M) says, no; the national bourgeoisie in India has a progressive role no doubt, but it is not a national front which they want to forge with the national bourgeoisie — the party will enter into a united front with them, sometimes entering into unity, sometimes into struggle. So, the point at issue boils down to this : both parties are giving the call for people's democratic revolution, both proclaim that the main enemy before Indian revolution is not capitalism, the main enemy is imperialism and feudalism; it is by overthrowing which that people's democratic state will have to be established in India, not by overthrowing capitalism. In other words, it is the call of either party that the Indian revolution will be anti-imperialist and anti-feudal, in which the national bourgeoisie will play a progressive role. So it comes, in both cases naturally, the revolution is national, anti-imperialist and anti-feudal in content.

If revolution is anti-imperialist and national, then it becomes anti-feudal also. However, if revolution is anti-imperialist but socialist instead of being national, then it becomes anti-capitalist revolution. Yet both the CPI and the CPI(M) assert that their revolution is anti-imperialist, anti-feudal and national, with the national bourgeoisie enjoying a progressive and revolutionary role in that revolution. Where then lies the difference between the two? The claimed difference, which I did point out earlier, is that one party says they are for a national front with the national bourgeois to establish people's democracy via national democracy, while the other party says that theirs will not be national front, instead they will draw in the national bourgeois into a united front — in unity at times, in struggle otherwise. They will use the national bourgeoisie in this way to their declared end of revolution. So, it comes that the difference between these two parties, as two exponents of people's democratic revolution, lies in their respective tactical approach to the national bourgeois class.

Lenin-Stalin-Mao all had to combat blindness in practice

When the CPI(M) came out breaking away from the CPI, they posed as if they followed Mao Zedong as the authority. Comrade Mao Zedong has expounded many correct propositions. Unquestionably, in the present world he stands out as the living inspiration of revolution. Not only is he playing an important role in the communist revolutionary movements and anti-imperialist struggles, striving to safeguard these struggles against the basic weakness of revisionism, he is fighting actively to that end. He is waging an immeasurably valuable struggle from which we have much to learn.

But it does not mean, whatever Mao Zedong has said, we should follow that blindly, uncritically and unquestioningly. This is by no means the Marxist-Leninist methodology, by no means what dialectical materialism teaches. Lenin also had to fight this tendency at one time, as I told you already. Mao Zedong himself had to fight this tendency. When Mao was giving shape to the Chinese revolution, he had before him the teachings of Marx and Engels and of Lenin, who had emerged as a great revolutionary personality — Mao had all his teachings, that is, Leninism, which is the Marxism of this era. Mao Zedong's party maintains still that this is the era of Leninism, although in their recent expressions and manner of presentation a little different tone is mingling. But still then, they do not deny that this is essentially the era of Leninism and that it is Leninism which will fundamentally guide the revolutionary movements of this era. The CPC is not denying this in their analyses of the international situation, whatever their other leanings.

However, I shall not go any more into this issue today. As I was saying, the way Lenin had to combat the trend of blind pursuit in the course of Russian revolution, so had Mao to combat the tendency to blindly copy Stalin during the Chinese revolution, in the same measure as did Lenin. Through this struggle Mao proved that those who wanted to copy Lenin and Stalin blindly were not their genuine successors or disciples. While Mao waged struggle against this blindness, it appeared to some that he was waging fight against Lenin and Stalin themselves. But today what is explicitly clear is that on the Chinese soil, it is he who is the true successor to Lenin and Stalin, and for that matter he has come out to be the true inheritor of Marxism-Leninism there, and having successfully accomplished the revolution there, he had proved it beyond any doubt.

Naxalites too are victims of blindness

The same phenomenon is repeating itself round Mao himself in the world today. In different countries, some people are repeating that same practice round Mao and the CPC. What happened once in regard to Marx and Engels, then happened in regard to Lenin and subsequently to Stalin, now is being repeated in regard to Mao Zedong. And as a result, we find a third faction, other than these two parties — the CPI and the CPI(M) — the Naxalites, betraying total apathy to pay heed to reasoning. Their attitude is: Oh, you think you understand it better than Chairman Mao? With them to differ from Mao means to oppose revolution.

Yes, in a sense this is true. But the problem lies in the actual understanding of allegiance to international leadership. By allegiance to Mao, they understand parroting or disgorging whatever Mao ever said. Whereas, we understand that allegiance to Mao means to accept his leadership and teachings, to grasp the same on the basis of dialectical relationship, and, by drawing lessons from this realization, to apply them to the task of our revolution in our country. And if from our own experience we have something to offer, then to place the same on the basis of this very dialectical process, enriching and strengthening his leadership thereby. Only this way through this dialectical process, can we build up the communist movement in our country correctly, help the Chinese struggle for socialist advancement, and strengthen the international communist movement as well.

Allegiance to international communist movement not to be confused with copying it blindly

I feel, I should iterate here what earlier I discussed many times. If allegiance to the international communist leadership is blind allegiance, it then means something not at all desirable. I hold, in the light of Marxist teachings that obligation to international communist leadership could never mean under any circumstances, blind obedience to it. On the contrary. It means a dialectical relationship between communist parties on the basis of the principle of 'unity-struggle-unity' with the common objective of revolution, emancipation and social progress. And the character of the relationship is governed by the principle of struggle and unity at the same time. When this dialectical relationship between the international communist leadership and the communist parties across the board takes a living form in practice, then and only then can it open up the road to continuous development and enrichment of the thinking and ideological standard of the international communist leadership. And not only does it benefit the international leadership, but the communist movements in different countries can as well benefit from it and be conducted in the correct course if the character of the contradiction between the international leadership and the communist parties of different countries is non-antagonistic, that is, being mutually conducive in the perspective of the struggle against the common enemy, that is, against world imperialism and capitalism.

At the time of the Chinese revolution, many who were in the leadership prior to Mao copied everything Lenin said under the spell of blind allegiance and, quoting Lenin, they wanted to show that the process of transformation of the peasantry into kulaks, rural bourgeoisie, was going on already in China in the manner it had been going on in Russia in Lenin's day. Mao Zedong said that all those who were saying these things needed to be severely rebuked. Since a section of the Russian peasantry had become transformed into bourgeoisie, Lenin designated them bourgeois. Now, because Lenin had said that a section of the peasantry had been transformed into rural bourgeoisie, therefore it had to be said that the peasants in China too had become rural bourgeoisie! Can this be called a theory?

Blind support does not lend itself to strengthening leadership

The Naxalites in our country are speaking in the same vein. Mao Zedong observed that in China all who talked of a section of peasants having transformed into rural bourgeoisie were harming the cause of Chinese revolution and strengthening the hands of reactionaries. Quoting these words of Mao Zedong, the Naxalites say that in India those who say that a section of the peasants here has transformed into rich peasants or rural bourgeoisie are subverting the cause of the Indian revolution, at the same time strengthening the hands of reactionaries. What to do with these people! There is one thing we must do, that is to explain to the people with unflinching patience, and in a manner people can understand easily, the dangerous consequences of this practice of copying blindly. The attitude we should adopt while combating the Naxalites ideologically shall be this: the slogan that to disavow Mao Zedong, to oppose the CPC or Mao Zedong means to strengthen international reaction — this is correct. But the way they are using this slogan, by that they are in fact causing betrayal of the main political purpose which underlies the objective of this slogan. That is to say, the manner in which they are invoking the name of Mao Zedong in season and out of season, irrespective of time and place, in utter disregard of how to project the leader, when and to what extent, and without keeping in view the concrete situation of the country — it goes only to denigrate this giant leader objectively and his great image in the eye of the Indian masses. They are handing out to the reactionaries an opportunity to create a wrong impression about the revolutionary leadership and to spread canard and confusion. Secondly, to master Mao Zedong's revolutionary theory and apply it in the concrete situation of India itself means to recognize the revolutionary role of the Chinese Communist Party — certainly not oppose the CPC and the revolutionary theory of Mao. If Mao's theory is followed blindly, it cannot be accordant with the reality here, and if by doing this they create hindrance to the process of revolution in India, however much they may assert that they support the CPC and adhere to the revolutionary theory of Mao Zedong, in practice they will but strengthen objectively the hands of the reaction. Support which is blind does not lend itself to strengthening the hands of the leader. On the contrary. It weakens the leadership. Therefore, an essential task of the revolutionary workers is to examine every issue critically, meticulously, with utmost care.

No two events can be identical in this constantly changing material world

You know how rich is Mao Zedong and his party in revolutionary experiences and teachings. And how rich in revolutionary teachings are Lenin, Stalin and the Soviet Communist Party, founder of the first socialist state in the world. Beginning with Marx and Engels, what all these leaders said, their teachings and analyses are before us. Precisely, what are these analyses? These are the fruits of true realization gained in the course of concrete application of Marxist dialectical-materialist outlook to concrete situations and events. Now, the situation is constantly changing, newer situations are developing because the material world itself is undergoing constant change. Because of this, whenever we apply this science to the constantly changing phenomena, the analyses and conclusions are bound to change, bound to go on changing. Such changes do not mean that the new analyses and conclusions are opposed to the previous ones. The contradictions between them are mutually conducive — on the face of it, seemingly, antagonistic, but actually non-antagonistic in nature. Which is to say, the contradiction that appears between one such conclusion and another is non-antagonistic. If Marxism is applied scientifically to different situations arising in the course of change, then differences will be there between the conclusions arrived at. In other words, the conclusion reached by applying it to a particular stage of development of a process will differ from the one arrived at by applying Marxism to a somewhat-different stage of development of the same process. But the contradiction arising out of this difference between the two is mutually conducive.

From one conclusion to another and from there to yet another still — this is the way in which Marxism goes on developing. Just like, for instance, there are differences between the conclusions drawn at different stages of development of science from, say, Copernicus to Einstein. Each of the conclusions has, however, helped growth and development to the next conclusion. Again, that next conclusion, in its turn, has helped science arrive at a still more developed and advanced conclusion. The contradiction between them is mutually conducive and therefore non-antagonistic in nature. As I was saying, the development of Marxism also takes place in a like manner.

You should, however, realize that all who fail to see this real contradiction while applying Marxism, and the concrete contradictions arising from the differences between situations as well as the contradiction between the general and the particular, do not actually look into the matter or analyse it in truly dialectical materialist way of approach. What happens as a result? The result is, while trying to copy the general truth blindly and in toto, they ultimately come to oppose the very political objects, aims and ideology of the general truth. Maybe they don't do this consciously, they do it unwittingly; the result is, however, all the same. That they might be doing it unknowingly may attract sympathetic treatment in a psychiatric clinic, but how can it be overlooked out of sympathy in the sphere of political battles? Evidently, the same is not like a psychiatric clinic treating patients of mental disorder which evokes sympathy. This is one area where mistakes of the kind will inevitably end up in disasters. The harm inflicted on the cause of revolution in sequel to their blunder, and reaction getting thereby a further boost as a result of their commission, is the same no matter whether they did it consciously or unwittingly. The consequence to follow is the same, no matter whether they apprehended the disaster or they acted without wit.

What becomes the disastrous consequence of practice through blind copying will have to be shown to them in this way. This in view, we have categorically stated and discussed our party's standpoint many times. Many discussions have been made on the situation prevailing in China at the time of revolution there, on the then international situation, on the specific features of the Chinese revolution — in other words, its state character then, the state of existence of capitalism, the class correlation of forces, who were then identified as the national bourgeoisie in that country, and other similar issues.

If, side by side with the then conditions in China, the present character of the Indian state, its base and structure, also the character of the Indian agrarian economy, the present stage of development of Indian capitalism and its character, who are the national bourgeoisie in India, and so forth, are compared, it will be seen that there exists a fundamental difference between the features of these two countries. There is similarity in respect of some features common to both the countries, namely, the vast numbers of peasantry, vastness of land and the like, features of common advantage to the struggle in either country. In the event of armed uprising and protracted battle, there will be manifest some features similar in either country. But as regards the main strategic slogan of revolution, the revolutionary situation, its characteristics, basic class disposition, and so forth, there exist fundamental differences between the then situation in China and the present India.

No similarity in economy of pre-revolution China and present India

Pre-revolution China was a semi-colonial state. Although there was a central government in Nanking, that was on paper only. China used to be administered as a country divided territorially into spheres of influence of different imperialist powers and areas ruled by various military warlords, feudal masters. There was no central government capable to establish a centralized administration for the whole country.

Take a look at India, on the other hand. The centralized character of a national government here, that is, a countrywide centralized administrative machinery of the modern type — a unified, well-knit network of communication, administration and military operative from the remotest village level up to the capital city that we have in India — which is not of pre-capitalist, localized or decentralized, loose medieval type, and not divided into territories of feudal lords and spheres of influence of this or that imperialist power. Such was not the case with China. Therefore, whereas the Indian state is modern, national and capitalist in character, the Chinese state was pre-capitalist, medieval and semi-colonial. Such is the difference in the character of state between India and China. Secondly, by national bourgeoisie, Mao Zedong meant the urban middle class in China. As a matter of fact, there had been practically no growth of capitalism, and industrial capital, so to speak, had hardly developed in China. Capitalism there was in the infant stage. Chinese economy was essentially a localized agricultural economy. And here in India capitalism has developed as a national capitalist system. It has given birth to monopoly capital, as well as to state monopoly capital, and already there is a growing tendency towards militarization of economy. Indian monopoly capitalists have today become junior partners of international imperialist trust and cartel. Indian capital has already given birth to finance capital and a financial oligarchy through merger of banking capital and industrial capital. Through export of finance capital it has acquired an imperialist character. And the localized agricultural economy in India broke down during British imperialist rule itself. Whatever remnants were there, those got shattered during the Second World War. To common people also it is known that a fraction even does not exist now. If you study the literature of Saratchandra 1even, written far back during the freedom movement, you will notice them in the portrayals of conditions in the villages. He is saying that there is no milk, egg, or fish, or any such thing available in villages. Vegetables are grown, milk is produced in villages, but the villagers hardly get to see them. Everything leaves for the market in towns and cities. Such is the shape of 'localized agricultural economy'! Village artisans of different trades, such as weavers, potters, among others, are finding it difficult to keep body and soul together. The kolus (oilmen) have become virtually extinct. Village community life and self-sufficient rural economy have long been things of the past in India. Such is the situation. Next comes the question: what is the nature of Indian agrarian economy? What is the character of agricultural production system, and agricultural produce of India at present? What is the character of the prevalent land-relation? What is the character of the labour power engaged in agricultural production? We have previously discussed these questions many times over.

Indian economy is capitalist economy

We have shown time and again that in the rural economy of our country, production is carried out on the basis of capitalist relations of production, and land has been transformed into an instrument, a means, of capitalist production like a factory. Land is more and more going out of the hands of eightyfive per cent of rural population who are sinking to the level of proletariat or semi-proletariat, and land is getting concentrated in the hands of a few. Fiftyfive to sixty per cent of total land is now concentrated in the hands of only five to six per cent of rural population. What is produced in rural economy, which we call the agricultural produce, have today become commodities of the national capitalist market. Production of this agricultural produce, which the owners are getting produced by investing capital in land and agriculture, is done on the basis of owner-worker relationship, that is, on capitalist production relation. About eightyfive per cent of rural population are landless peasants and agricultural labourers who are essentially proletariat like the workers in factories in the cities, and they constitute the bulk of the labour force in agricultural production. This continuous growth in the numbers of landless proletariat, of agricultural labourers, increasing concentration of land in the hands of a few, transformation of land into means of investment of capital, organization of production on the basis of owner-worker relationship, the agricultural labour power acquiring proletarian character and, above all, transformation of agricultural produce into commodities of the national market—all these prove that Indian agricultural economy is basically capitalist in nature.

In this connection, I need to remind you of a valuable teaching of Lenin's on infiltration of capitalism in agricultural economy. While he explained how to conclude that there has been infiltration of capitalism into agriculture Lenin, in his famous treatise Agrarian Question in Russia at the end of 19th century, enumerated the symptoms of this development as follows : more and more concentration of land in the hands of a few; growth in the numbers of landless agricultural labourers; more and more farming on the basis of freely hired agricultural labourers; growing control of capitalist trade and commerce over agrarian economy; and transformation of agricultural produce into commodities of national capitalist market. We have shown in many earlier discussions that whatever remnants of feudalism still exist here, due to the fact that the national leadership of our country compromised in the struggle against imperialism and feudalism, these have remained and are being perpetuated in the cultural sphere, in the customs, habits and conduct.

Now compare this analysis by Lenin with the nature and character of our agrarian economy which I have just enumerated. Does this not clearly prove what I have told you — that our agrarian economy is basically capitalist in nature? These very conditions prove that on the question of determining the stage of revolution, there is no basic similarity between India and pre-revolution China. But as I have already said, there are some similarities like the vastness of the land and the fact that the peasantry comprises a very large section, that is, seventy per cent of the population. It is in respect of the tactics of conducting the revolutionary struggle in India that there are similarities with China, Vietnam, and many other such relatively backward countries.

Failure of so-called communists here to establish dialectical relationship with international leadership

And the most important thing is that by iterating Lenin's teachings of the November Revolution, we have to exhort our Naxalite friends to eschew the habit of copying the authority blindly. We have to tell them that otherwise their activities will tantamount to lowering the high authority of great Mao Zedong himself, lowering the high position of the CPC itself, and invariably bring catastrophe to the Indian revolution. If they do so, not only will this bring disaster to the world revolution, it will also bring complete disaster to the revolution in this country. Revolution cannot be accomplished by copying. In no country can it be done that way. First, let them correctly realize whatever revolutionary theories have been developed in different countries. They must acquire the ability to apply them in a concrete form. Revolution cannot be accomplished in any country unless the revolutionaries there correctly understand Marxism, the revolutionary theory, the general revolutionary teachings developed so far through struggles in different countries, and then concretize them, develop them so as to fulfil the needs of the goal of their own revolution, apply the general teachings in a concrete form so as to make them conduce to the concrete conditions of the country. So, every revolutionary theory, that is, the science of revolution, needs to be developed. Without concretizing it and developing it, one cannot bring about revolution. This is to be explained to the Naxalites.

While discussing the theories of revolution of the CPI and the CPI(M), and also in regard to the Naxalites, I have shown time and again that whatever decisions they have taken and whatever conclusions they have made till now have all been done by invoking blindly the international leadership. All along, they have sought to interpret the Indian society blindly and mechanically, copying in toto the formulations made by either the Soviet or the Chinese Communist Party, or any general line accepted at the international conferences. I am going to raise another point in this connection, which they have missed totally. When a general international line evolves through exchange and interaction of ideas, opinions and experiences among the communist parties of different countries, then that becomes the fundamental general line in the given international situation. But nowhere and in no country can revolution materialize by copying that internationally adopted general line. Because, whenever one tries to apply the general line in a country, certain differences, certain contradictions are sure to crop up, depending upon the concrete conditions and peculiarities of that country. And if one is able to resolve these contradictions correctly, then and then only can one formulate the particular line of revolution by correctly analysing the particular conditions of the country, and thereby it becomes the particular line of that particular revolution. Although the contradiction between the fundamental general line, even if adopted unanimously, and the particular line of revolution of a particular country are mutually conducive in character, yet conflicts and contradiction between the two are bound to appear, no doubt about it; and they will appear again and again. Neither the undivided party under the signboard of 'Communist Party' in the past has been, nor any of the present three parties into which it got divided have even today been able to grasp the nature of this conflict and contradiction between the general and the particular. To them, abiding by the decisions of the international communist leadership means copying the same in toto, or at best making certain superficial additions, alterations or changes in the manner of expression, and imposing the general line of revolution upon the concrete situation of our country. If you analyse the strategies of revolution of the CPI, the CPI(M), or the Naxalites — the CPI's strategy of people's democratic revolution by forming of a national democratic front with the national bourgeoisie through the process of national democratic movement — which is, in reality, nothing else but a reflection of bourgeois democratic trend — the CPI(M)'s strategy of straightway people's democratic revolution, the Naxalite strategy of encircling the towns by creating liberated zones in the countryside based on the interpretation that the Indian state is a semi-feudal and semi-colonial state — you find that all these parties, in fact, have all through failed to take cognizance of the realities of the Indian society, because they copied blindly, in toto, the general line adopted at the international communist conferences or meets, or the formulations made by the Soviet, or the Chinese, leadership. And so first they impose that line or formulation on the objective condition of India and then cook up such data and marshal arguments as would suit their subjective and fanciful formulations.

Lessons of November Revolution are to be grasped and applied in integration, in entirety

Let me discuss now another aspect. It has become customary these days to comment that our party's theory is good, very good. On our part we are lending an ear to it like listening to a lullaby. It is not that only our own party workers are saying this, even people outside the party and many workers of the so-called communist parties have started to say it alike. They do it from genuine appreciation. On the other side, many of those who are opposed to us, do not at all try to understand our party. In order to avoid a situation in which some of their leaders, because of our persuasive pressure, are compelled to sit for discussion, which in its course might have revealed the depth of their shallow knowledge or the low level of their understanding, they readily admit that our theory and analyses are excellent and shut off the discussion at that. Our comrades too keep on chanting: our analyses are perfect, our theory correct, very correct. I say, just because our theory is correct, our analyses are sound, so what else to do other than rest in slumber! Because the revolutionary theory is correct, revolution will of itself materialize, come about spontaneously! No, it does not work like that.

This impels me here to emphasize another important revolutionary lesson of November Revolution, which is that correct theory alone does not suffice; what is needed is a powerful revolutionary party capable of implementing the theory and a vast army of well-equipped, able organizers and cadres. Wanting in this, a revolutionary theory itself cannot bring about revolution. See, we are learning about the humane appeal of revolutionary theories, lofty ideals, values and ethics. Why are we learning all these? We are learning in order to grasp the revolutionary politics of the working class and to educate the workers and the toiling people of all strata in order to mobilize them in the revolutionary organization. Otherwise, what use is acquiring higher human values, ethics and culture? Values, culture, magnanimity, knowledge, scholarship, wisdom — what are these for if there is no understanding of the proletarian culture, of the particular politics of the party, of the struggle between this politics and the politics of other parties in a given situation ? Of what use are all these if we lack the ability to conduct this struggle not only while achieving victory but also amid failure, frustration and difficulties? Learning about culture, values, philosophy is to be for acquiring the capacity to shape out this politics not only when we are winning some victories but also while fighting against obstacles, suffering setbacks and defeats in succession. Is it not so?

Importance of revolutionary conduct and sense of discipline

And to gain this ability, we need possess one more quality, which is revolutionary conduct and sense of revolutionary discipline. In the military, discipline is discipline enforced by wielding the stick. Willy nilly, they are to carry out orders. Otherwise, they do not get paid, they lose their jobs. Not only that. Once enrolled, they cannot desert. They will be forced to come back or put behind bars. So, they have to maintain discipline under compulsion. But the sense of discipline in a revolutionary party is not like that in an army. The question does not arise. Here discipline is voluntary, self-imposed. The sense of discipline in a revolutionary party stems from our own recognition of its necessity. But since the sense of discipline here is not something mechanical, should anyone take advantage of this? Should anyone consider this to be a privilege? But these days the conduct of a number of our comrades is worrying me, I am a bit disturbed. For, I find some leading comrades, let alone ordinary comrades about whom I shall speak later, are often not doing their job but wasting time in chit-chat. These comrades seldom care to think what responsibility they have been assigned, what are their specific tasks. But they are keen on gathering information about the happenings around the world. Their heads are crammed with world revolution but they do not spare a thought for their own specific assignment. They do not ask themselves: what about my personal initiative? Am I discharging my responsibility? If not, just as the work suffers and their irresponsibility becomes more pronounced, will not this habit of theirs spread its baneful effects to others? And if this goes on, then there will be no such thing as discharging one's specific task in the party, the whole of party work becomes subject to personal whims and moods of comrades. No party unit can function like this. But of late I have noticed many responsible comrades indulging in this behaviour. Secondly, many leading comrades do not learn how to maintain discipline. In the realm of our conduct there is a certain understanding which is regarded as basic. If they don't follow this, if they themselves lack in discipline, then what will the people learn whom they have mobilized? Of what use is their struggle then? Wherefrom will they learn to acquire the ability and get the training to bear with everything in hours of difficulty, during a sudden attack if it comes?

Attitude of revolutionary workers in the case of conflict of opinions

If something is not to my liking, I react to it at once, if some difference of opinion crops up, I lose balance and start talking irrationally. If things are not to my liking, I start whispering behind the back. These are petty bourgeois bad habits, the negative aspects of our character inherited from this society. There is no reason to be afraid of these. One should understand that these are aspects of weaknesses in us, our defects — the negative side of our character. So, these negative aspects should be rooted out. Wherefrom shall we acquire the knowledge to overcome all these if we don't realize the essence of discipline, if our conduct does not befit revolutionary workers? Surely, we need this realization in the overall interest of revolution.

It may happen on occasions that while taking a decision on a particular issue in a party body, difference arises between comrades on that question; a wrong decision can be arrived at. It may happen due to anybody's mistake or wrong assessment. In such a situation it may be that one is correct, but the decision goes to the contrary. In that case the attitude should be that even then one shall abide by the decision. In these cases the only point in deciding our approach and attitude should be that we must not fail to differentiate between the major and the minor, to examine whether the question involves anything fundamental or concerns something minor or temporary in nature. Notwithstanding my differences, my attitude and psychological makeup should be such that I would abide by it happily nevertheless and shall maintain discipline in order that my conduct can serve as an example in the party. So that others may realize: see, this comrade carried on a fight for what he thought to be correct, but once a decision was taken, he submitted to it happily! If any comrade wants to sympathize with him on such occasions, he should powerfully react against such mentality and boldly state: did I fight on the issue simply for the sake of asserting my personal opinion? Was the fight a personal one? As I understood the issue, so I fought. Now that a decision has been taken, it is a collective decision with all of us party to it. Why come to sympathize with me? Do you expect that, being pleased, I shall encourage you? Such should be the attitude and conduct of ours. If one does not do this, if one lacks this discipline and self-control, what will other comrades learn? What will be their reaction if they find that a leading comrade, whatever his proficiency in talking about big theories, in practice he is grumbling, venting his grievances and indulging in quite inconsistent, contradictory pronouncements.

One more aspect I want to discuss here. The party has now grown big comparatively; thousands are joining the party as cadre, and among them there are different types, having striking differences. Among these comrades some are relatively well-off, and some have a good job, some may have been able to develop the organization to the extent that their living condition may be a bit better as concerns food and lodging. But most party workers, who come from among workers, peasants, or from lower middle class families and who cannot even afford two square meals because of their poor economic condition, are working for the party and developing the organization at such places where, either because of their own limitations or because of the situations obtaining, they have not yet been able to create the means for a little better living. Workers of all these types are in the party and will be there in the future. The bigger the party grows, the greater will be this multiplicity. What should be our approach in these cases? It should be like this: those who are not well-off should not bear any hankering after the good living condition of other comrades; they should be indifferent to this. And those who are better off, they should have an attitude of sharing the stress and sufferings with others if need be. In a word, they should be able to give up everything at a moment's notice cheerfully. This is by no means an easy task. Even if their mind desires otherwise they should be capable of eliminating that type of proclivity and they should do it not as a matter of show but because they have no particular desire or attachment to anything of comfort. In other words, working for the party, they do not count upon living good. Only if their attitude is like this, will comrades from poor families accept them as comrades from the core of their heart. Even a good comrade who suffers hardship, if he is not determined enough he might get frustrated at times owing to the negative aspects or weaknesses in his character. Now, if a leading comrade grumbles over his personal difficulties every moment, how can these comrades who work often going without food keep up their morale?

Does party work consist in delivering speeches only? Or in the ability to mix with people? Can one be a good worker or a revolutionary simply by coming to possess these qualities? The most important thing about a revolutionary is that he understands the politics of the party well and maintains discipline voluntarily. He knows how to conduct himself with discipline. He knows how to restrain himself, has self-control, and acts in a disciplined manner. Now, you see as the party is gaining in strength, this is becoming a major problem. For, it is becoming difficult for the leadership to pay individual attention to each and every comrade. We understand this. When the party is small, confined within a small circle, it is possible to pay attention to each and every comrade. But when the party grows bigger, the attention which can be given to those who happen to remain in close proximity with the leadership cannot be given to those others who do not move in close proximity to the leaders. Again, the attention which could be paid earlier to even those who were in close contact with the leadership cannot be given now as the party has expanded. For this reason, the whole environment within the party should be such that the conduct and style of work of each worker, organizer and leader will educate others, the sense of discipline of one induces others to be conscious about discipline.

Sometimes it is also seen that during serious discussions, some comrades indulge in chatting now and then, cutting jokes and resorting to flippancy. Revolutionaries can of course have jokes, but does joking mean frivolity? Frivolity comes from a different mentality, one that is apt to loosen discipline. It so happens sometimes that while being spoken to or being criticized by a leader, a worker winks at another or smiles meaningfully as if to say: we have had enough of such talks and criticisms. That is, criticism does not really matter; it is a habit of the leaders to criticize. There are some comrades even given to this type of thinking. If this is what goes on happening right before my eyes, one can imagine the true magnitude of the problem. Again, there are some who think they are very clever. Perhaps they put on a grave look and consider that the leaders will thereby think that they have taken the matter seriously. But the leadership understands what is what. The party leadership is mature enough to see through all this.

Individual initiative plays its role as basis of collective initiative

All this criticism I considered necessary because we are in a transitional phase today. The party has reached a stage when it can begin to take big steps forward. We should plunge headlong into action now. We have plenty of cadres but many of them lack individual initiative and self-confidence. When revolutionary workers discuss among themselves, they should do it so as to infuse courage in one another, to plunge into work together and be equal to their tasks. Another kind of discussion goes on among comrades in which pleas are offered for why one cannot do something, what factors stood in the way or what are the 'reasons' behind it, the intention being to magnify those pleas and arguments. This kind of exchange dampens the initiative of workers, impairs their working capacity and deprives them of the overall possibilities which are available within the party life. Should this then be the purpose of our discussion, our association? Evidently, the purpose of association and mixing with comrades lies in, having overcome the weakness within ourselves, to boldly take up the duties that fall to us, even in doing which we regard ourselves to be incapable, and to make serious efforts to discharge that. Even when we meet and talk during spare time, we should do it to encourage one another, to instil confidence in each other and overcome lack of initiative. Short of this, the talk of 'collective initiative' loses meaning. It becomes formal, mechanical, something lifeless, if it is not based on individual initiative. An individual comrade, whatever his level of consciousness, if he has developed into a revolutionary then it means that he dares change his environment, he realizes that as a conscious being he has to struggle to change it and remould it. He cannot offer excuses or shy away from the task. He has to take on the responsibility to reshape the environment because individual initiative is at the base of collective initiative. Every revolutionary cadre should think in this way.

To say I am conscious means I am prepared to act consciously to change myself and change the environment. If I am not prepared to do so, I am not truly conscious. In the literal sense, I might be considered educated, an intellectual, but I lack true consciousness. A truly conscious man cannot give up his endeavour. He not only discusses things but he bears a specific responsibility which he discharges with dedication. On that, he never indulges in giving excuses. He may lose in a struggle, he may fail while conducting tests and trials, but he can proudly speak out to the world all about his failure because he has not shirked his responsibility, he has not betrayed his conscience. He has not just discussed things idly, he has not tried to rationalize and justify his failure. He took initiative, he strove, he fought, but he failed. This will be the thinking pattern, the mindset of the revolutionary. Remember, we started in the midst of failure. You too may have to meet with failure, and failure again. We do not know how many more failures await us, but we are confident that ultimate victory will be ours because we are on the right track. We are treading the correct path. If we can draw correct lessons from every failure, ultimate victory is certain. This is how revolution has succeeded in various countries — failure followed failure, this went on, and through all this was realized the ultimate victory. There is a famous observation by Mao Zedong in this regard: The failures of the revolutions in history cannot and must not be allowed to repeating themselves, the situation must be turned into one of victory.

Revolutionary qualities can develop only through political struggle based on correct theory

There is a section of people in the revolutionary movement who hold that their theory is correct but perhaps the method of recruiting and developing cadres is quite different. They think in this way. To me it sounds strange. I have tried to understand them and found that they failed to realize an important point. They think that if we adhere to the instructive guidelines handed down to us by Lenin in the form of a personal code of conduct, then everything will proceed along the right course — we will acquire the ability to analyse, interpret and grasp politics correctly.

No doubt the Leninist code of conduct is necessary for development of the revolutionary character of the rank and file, and, short of this, revolution can never be accomplished. But over and above this, the point is, how can be the revolutionary cadre and their character shaped out? Can it come merely by way of thinking, merely by wishing or chanting about it? No. One will have to strive for it. What does it mean? Do you realize in how many ways one acts to the contrary while one thinks that one is following the correct code of conduct? And he will not acquire the capacity even to realize that he is acting to the contrary, or nursing a contrary attitude even while talking of revolutionary code of conduct if he does not enrich and enhance his theoretical understanding and knowledge through struggle by adhering to the correct methodology.

So, if we are to acquire the qualities of the revolutionary character correctly in life, we shall have to take active part with all sincerity in conducting political struggles on the basis of the correct revolutionary theory. Otherwise, we will be simply talking about qualities of a revolutionary character but in reality these will not develop at all. In that event, pursuit of the code of conduct reduces to nothing but code mongering.

Now, we are faced with many problems. For instance, there are problems concerning the recruitment of cadres, problems of educating and developing them. Many aspects remain to be discussed in this connection, but today I cannot go into all them. All I am going to say is that our theory is correct, but three types of serious defects are found among us. Firstly, many of us have great ability and potential but they are not taking adequate care to materialize those because they do not know what their specific tasks are, or they do not know what responsibility they are actually able to discharge adequately, or they avoid doing that. Such things often happen in our party. But if we take initiative and make serious efforts, then any unjust act or mistake committed today will get corrected tomorrow. Again there is no reason to presume that all are sure to commit some unjust acts or mistakes. So, since there is no difference on the fundamental theoretical and ideological questions, let everyone make a start on some work, any work on your own initiative; discharge your own responsibility sincerely. The main thing is whether everybody is discharging his own responsibility or not. Yet I notice many comrades do not discharge any specific duty of their own, rather they are concerned more about the responsibility of the whole party. Well, in that case, these comrades should better take our position. Who would do the work in their place then? Should we, therefore, move to their position? Now, someone may retort: “I am too good for my present work. Please take up my position and let me move up to yours." In that case, what he says may make some sense. Otherwise, what sense it makes in not taking up a specific duty and discharging it?

Every comrade in our party can put forward his suggestion. That is one thing. But he must first be doing his job. That is, to him his own duty and responsibility should come first, and he should perform it well. Only after that, from the experience he gains, he does advance his suggestions to the party and puts forward various suggestions on the party's general line and policies. That is good. But strangely, there are many who constantly worry about which move of the party is correct and which is not, but they bother least about whether they are themselves discharging their own responsibility.

Whereas, each party worker should feel: however little it be, however limited, he has got a specific responsibility, he has a definite sphere of activity. By discharging his duty in that sphere, he is proving his worth. He is just not floating around. His job is not to confine himself to discussions only with comrades and friends. Of course, even these discussions may serve a purpose for the party provided they can connect them with whom they are in discourse and discussion with the party. That is, he should recruit new workers in this way, and fulfil the responsibility entrusted to him by the party. This is his task. But is he actually doing this? No, that way also he is doing nothing. They just go on talking and keeping themselves busy the whole day with this only. What is happening as a result? Many competent comrades who could provide leadership are wasting their capabilities.

'I am in no mood now, so no work comes of me' — this is contrary to revolutionary sense of discipline

Secondly, there are many responsible comrades who do good work. When they work they do it very well. But it depends on their mood whether they will work or not. Although they hold responsible positions they are in the habit of saying anywhere they like that “I am in no mood now". Ordinary comrades watch them and hear them saying so.

These comrades do not seem to care for once how this behaviour of theirs who are in such responsible positions adversely affects ordinary workers. Even for once they do not consider what damaging effect this behaviour can have on ordinary workers who get polluted from this society, and on people as well as on mass movement. On many occasions, unknowingly, they do disservice to the party by such careless talks and behaviour, outweighing the service they put in. But they do it unconsciously. They do not intend to do anything harmful because they joined the party under inspiration of its revolutionary ideology and the nobility of the cause the party espouses. But they lack this restraint, this self-control. They do have difficulties, but if they lack the ability to bear with those then what will ordinary comrades learn from them? The power of endurance, the power to bear with sufferings is the outcome of revolutionary education.

Revolutionaries should not think for a moment that they will not have to face trials and tribulations. I can be in the revolutionary movement only if the situation can be kept trouble-free to the last — recourse to such thinking helps neither revolution nor a worker to develop into a revolutionary. So, one has to be ready to face any situation. Yes, it may take time to get so prepared, but comrades must make efforts towards that. And you see, this endeavour should not turn out to be something in which someone in the name of making such endeavour, does just the opposite. The first step should be to effect a break with the past conduct, at least forsake the habit of giving vent to feelings here, there and everywhere. One should express feelings as these only if it gets unbearable otherwise, and that, too, they should express these before the leadership — not just anywhere. Because, so long as he is in a leading position at whatever level in the party, enjoying some authority, the rank and file comrades look up to him as a leader. Naturally, his conduct cannot but cast an influence on them. So, if he is aware of his weakness or defect, then he will bring it up as a matter of discussion for rectification but not before all those comrades who cannot help him in this regard, who would rather do him harm by showing sympathy. It is better to discuss and resolve the matter with the appropriate leadership.

There is another class of comrades, who fall in two types. The first type, if they are asked to do some work, they would do it. Those of the other type would do the work sometimes, but would say at other times, “I am not in a mood for it" and would sit tight. These comrades should realize that there are many such things which may not be to our liking. But if we behave in an irrational way as because something is not to our liking, then we cannot become an ordinary disciplined political worker even, not to speak of becoming a revolutionary worth the name.

True love inculcates high-mindedness, spurs on to struggle with courage

The point to be understood here is that realization of the revolutionary theory does not mean picking up some lofty phrases. There won't be true realization of the theory if the same realization does not inculcate a sense of discipline, if it does not create an urge for work. Correct realization of the theory teaches one to conduct oneself with discipline. But if anyone fails to learn how to behave properly, behaves undesirably, how can he possibly consider that he has understood lofty theories and ideals? It can only mean that his understanding is all muddled up. He thinks he knows much, but in reality what he has understood is rubbish. To the extent his understanding develops correctly, he becomes self-restrained, disciplined, his conduct reflecting it, and to that extent will his conduct will be correct, to that extent will he acquire proper knowledge. The more the understanding develops, the more develops this wisdom, this self-restraint, this self-control and endurance. Such is the process of learning, and such is its fruit.

Again, there are some comrades among us, though very few in numbers, whose enthusiasm flags after putting in some effort during, say, a fund collection drive. Such conduct may dampen the spirit of others around who carry on the collection drive from the morning till night, unflinchingly doing it even when they may be extremely exhausted. What happens if the leadership does not keep a constant vigil on such comrades and guide them, and they do not acquire the minimal standard of the revolutionary character? Soon, they are seen to while away more time than they spend for doing work. They lack doggedness and grit to pursue work. Though very few in numbers, they are seen to break away after a while from the fund collection drive and spend time in a nearby park. It is all right that young men and women find pleasure in associating and chatting with each other but it is really irritating if they while away time when they should work. Why leave your job and go to the park? Finish your job first and then go to the park. And there you can relax. Who objects? Perform your duty first, and then chat. It is fine that young men and women like to associate and talk. But why on the pretext of doing work, why shirking the work? We notice that they contact each other behind other people's back. Somehow, without knowledge of others, an appointment is fixed up between the two. And if there is some party work at the appointed hour, timely indisposition comes handy. Why this? Because, one desires to meet the other just then. Well, should you want to be together, why do you need to get “indisposed" for that? You tell straightaway that you desire to meet such and such and go to a park. No, indisposition is being feigned! This degrades one's character. One cannot develop into what one could have. It is not that his character gets wholly spoiled owing to this recourse to secretiveness, but certainly he cannot develop to fulfil his potential, and much harm is done. No, this won't do. Nobody here obstructs you to love each other. But let its acceptance be straightforward and bold as befits a human being. You become more responsible, more developed and happier thereby. What happens if you fail to take this way of approach? Nobody will view this conduct favourably. Even your comrades-in-arms who are ready to sacrifice their lives for you will not look to you with respect. Do you consider it a healthy relation, one that makes you forget your task and responsibility, and teaches you to offer false excuses for that and behave irresponsibly? Or, is it not an unhealthy relationship? Is it really a relationship befitting a man? It is no better than an animal relationship. A human relationship ought to elevate each other. If it is true love, it ought to broaden man and woman, ennoble them, free them from pretensions, endow them with courage and character, and teach them to be straightforward in conduct.

Revolution demands disciplined behaviour, individual initiative, leadership quality and audacity to take up challenge

So, I said, recruitment and adequate training and development of cadres is a big problem indeed. Leaders should seriously look into it. The rank and file comrades too should never indulge in indiscipline. An indisciplined organization, even if it grows a million strong, is a motley crowd. It does no good to the country, no question of accomplishing revolution.

Even if you rally a million people but do not change yourselves, I tell you, you will never succeed in bringing about revolution. On the other hand, it is my firm conviction that a revolutionary party can accomplish revolution with far less numbers of people, if it is well-knit and disciplined, if every member of it is disciplined and takes individual initiative, if every worker of the party maintains revolutionary conduct, he is spirited, he has leadership quality — if the workers can take risks and do not lose their bearing in any situation, if they have prepared themselves politically, theoretically, mentally and physically to face the challenge under all circumstances. If every worker of our party develops in this way, then the party of a hundred thousand can achieve revolution in India. I urge you to direct your thoughts towards this goal.

You surely understand that I am criticizing my own party, not any other party. I have told you about my deep concern, and what I consider we should do about it. Every comrade should respond to this. If they do not, they will be in disarray. Revolution cannot be accomplished in that way. If you are withdrawn by inertia, you cannot accomplish revolution. Every one participating in revolution has to be conscious, active, and disciplined.

To some, all this may sound as an unnecessary digression in a discussion on the teachings of November Revolution. But to us, this is the concrete lesson November Revolution enjoins in the present situation. For, those revolutionaries who were the product of November Revolution were no weaklings, no sham characters. Such people could not have made it possible to accomplish the November Revolution. Those who accomplished November Revolution were ready to face any situation. They did not place their love, the relationship between man and woman, above the party and the revolution. We profess this in our speeches, in our writings, but we do not follow it always in our action, in our conduct. For this it is that we cannot always act with responsibility, and our individual initiative goes awry.

So, I tell you, we have an urgent need to rear and develop cadres, to train them to be disciplined and to maintain that discipline. Even as we are still a small party in the Indian politics today, we have carved out a definite position for ourselves. However, the concerns which in my consideration assume utmost urgency today are discipline, method and style of work, and the development of cadres. If we lag in this, we won't be able to advance in spite of all our sound analyses and correct politics. Which is to say, we shall not be able to advance with so many people today, at the pace we need, compared to the pace with which we have advanced this far, starting with a handful of comrades only. Whereas, the concrete condition of today is such that we can advance at a fast pace. The pseudo-progressives are disintegrating, the reactionary forces have not succeeded yet in achieving a complete sway. For the revolutionaries, now is the golden opportunity to take big strides ahead. But, to do this, we need the correct theory and politics, and, alongside, we need discipline, revolutionary working style, individual initiative of workers, revolutionary character and indomitable spirit for work. With these words, I conclude my speech.

Long Live Revolution!

Long Live Great November Revolution!

Long Live SUCI!


1.Eminent Bengali litterateur of uncompromising secular humanist trend.

Shibdas Ghosh Internet Archive  |   Marxism and Anti-Imperialism in India